It's hard to know where to start about our fantastic trip out west to Utah this summer. I have been back a time or two since graduating and moving in 2001, but Jeremy hasn't and Cameron came with me when he was an infant, but obviously doesn't remember. This place is so near and dear to our hearts considering it is where Jeremy and I met, fell in love, and got married 15 years ago. It is where the most amazing school is located with the most beautiful surroundings and great places to eat. So sharing all of this with our three kids was kind of spectacular.
We arrived on a Tuesday and left the airport around 2. We drove straight to Provo. The kids could not get over the size of the mountains! It was cloudy that day and some of the mountains were covered in clouds at the top which the kids thought was the coolest thing ever. This day we just hung out at BYU, walking around and reminiscing about old classes. We drove to our old stomping grounds and to our old condo. We went to Brick Oven for pizza and home made root beer and then had ice cream cones at the creamery. The next day we had an official tour of BYU on one of the golf carts. I have to admit, I got a bit teary eyed driving around campus, man have I missed that place! I hope the kids loved it and could feel the spirit of that school. I hope so much that they can go there and have the same experiences we had. We also hiked the Y and my family thought I was killing them taking them on such a steep hike on such a hot day. But we made it and it was awesome. Today we tried some of the Swig sugar cookies I had heard so much about and ate at a new hot dog place where they put all sorts of toppings on them. Kids were in heaven! We also went to the Bean Museum, snuck into the football stadium and checked out the paleontology museum and the athlete display they have down my the Smith fieldhouse. We lucked out that there was a football kick off event taking place and Jeremy was just a little excited that he was able to get a poster signed by the head coach. We also tried a mega sized snow cone place- so many cool new treat places!
Thursday we hiked up to Timponogous Caves. If the kids thought the hike to the Y was tough, this was much harder. The most difficult part for me was not being freaked out that there was no guard rail to keep you from plummeting to your death off the steep side of the mountain. We held tightly to little hands and made it up. The caves were amazing, very different from Luray, but just as beautiful and cold! Today we also drove to Vivian park which holds so many great memories, to Squaw peak which holds some even better memories :), and Sundance where Jeremy proposed. We ate at Gandolfos and then stopped in Heber on our way to Park City for some amazing shakes at the train place there. Today we moved fromr hotel in Provo to my dear, sweet friend Cara's house in park City. Cara and I met our freshman year when she was assigned to be my visiting teacher and we hit it off instantly, especially as we discovered we had so much in common. We were bridesmaids in each others weddings and have stayed great friends through the years. Her family has a beautiful home in the mountains and I'm sure she must pinch herself every day waking up in that paradise.
Friday we headed to Olympic Park which was the highlight of the whole trip for the kids. They rode the Alpine slide, did zip lines and two ropes courses. Cara's son Merrit came for the afternoon, we wish they all could've come but school had already started. We spent the whole day here and then went to the Jones' favorite place El Chubasco for dinner. They love this place so much they named their cat after it :)
Saturday we had a really special treat. The new Ogden temple had just been redone and they were allowing visitors to come and tour it before its dedication. The Jones' got tickets for all of us and it was so cool to take the kids. Cameron cannot wait to turn 12 and be able to go and do baptisms here in the DC temple, so to get this kind of a sneak peek was priceless. The beauty of the stained glass and the architecture was simply stunning. Afterwards, our family headed to SLC to be tourists at temple square and see another breathtaking temple. This one had more meaning since Jeremy and I were married there and holds so many memories. Perhaps the thing about this day that my kids will remember the most is feeding two homeless men. We walked by the first one without a second glance, but the kids got our attention and asked what we could do to help. With only a moment's hesitation I pulled out some snacks we had brought and the three of them went to give him our offering. Those boys beamed with pride at what happiness a granola bar and some applesauce gave this man. So later in the day when we passed another, they wanted to help again. Our bag was empty, but I scrounged around in my purse and found some airplane peanuts and Mason's Twizzler that he had not yet eaten which he happily gave away. Not the most healthy, but hey, at least it was something. We had dinner at the Lion House and found a Leatherby's near by for some serious ice cream.
Sunday was a much needed rest day. We went to church and came home for naps and a hike just in their back yard. It was perfect. Cara made a delicious dinner and our kids just played and had a great time.
Monday we ventured to the Great Salt Lake. We drove to Antelope Island and saw dozens and dozens of buffalo. Nobody wanted to get in the water because of the brine flies but it was a beautiful day and a part of Utah Jeremy and I had never seen. Afterwards we went to visit Jeremy's aunt Vicki and introduce her to the kids. It was a short visit, but we're glad we did. One last time we drove through Provo, soaking it all in and then back to Park City for one more night with dear friends.
We usually do the beach in the summer but no one was sad that we didn't this year. Every single one of us had a great time and enjoyed every moment. Utah is an amazing place and it was a blessing to be able to share that with our kids. We hope to be able to visit again before too long.